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United Airlines flight returns to airport as aircraft debris found in neighborhoods outside Denver

A United Airlines flight bound for Honolulu was forced to return to Denver International Airport Saturday after suffering an engine issue, a spokesperson for the airport told CNN.

The flight returned safely to the airport around 1:30 p.m. local time, the spokesperson said.

That was about 20 minutes after police in Broomfield, Colorado, said via Twitter that they had received reports that an airplane flying over the Denver suburb had engine trouble and had “dropped debris in several neighborhoods around 1:08 p.m.”

“No injuries report at this time,” the tweet added.

Additional tweets from police said debris landed in Commons Park and the Northmoor and Red Leaf neighborhoods of Broomfield. The city is about 25 miles north of Denver and 30 miles east of Denver International Airport.

Authorities have yet to definitively connect the two incidents, but the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement that a Boeing 777-200 safely returned to the Denver International Airport after “experiencing a right-engine failure shortly after takeoff.”

“The FAA is aware of reports of debris in the vicinity of the airplane’s flight path,” the statement said.

CNN has reached out to United Airlines for additional information.

Broomfield police cautioned residents to not touch or move plane debris if they see it in their yard.

Kieran Cain told CNN he was playing with his children at a local elementary school when a plane flew over and they heard a loud boom.

“We saw it go over, we heard the big explosion, we looked up, there was black smoke in the sky,” Cain told CNN.

“Debris started raining down, which you know, sort of looked like it was floating down and not very heavy, but actually now looking at it, It’s giant metal pieces all over the place,” he said.

“I was surprised that the plane sort of continued on uninterrupted, without really altering its trajectory or doing anything,” he said. “It just kind of kept going the way it was going as if nothing happened.”

Cain said he and his children took shelter under an overhang as the debris came down.




  1. “Broomfield police cautioned residents to not touch or move plane debris if they see it in their yard.”
    They have zero legal authority to make such a demand.

    1. Mikey, go ahead big shot. Intentionally tamper with a crash scene and you could end up being federally charged and fined/imprisoned. You’d need a valid defense more than, “it’s my right.”

  2. So the Federal Government, specifically the FAA, allows these corporations to make their airplanes but does not actually conduct the testing of their equipment. The FAA expects these corporations to self regulate. Well now we have 2 separate instances where we’ve seen the tragic end to that 737 MAX and now the 777.
    Does the FDA do the same process with medications as the FAA does with airplanes?
    Who is holding these corporations accountable so this doesn’t happen before the damage is already done?

    1. It’s been reported here and in other places how various Federal agencies rely on many manufacturers to test their own products. The FAA and FCC are two agencies I know about. And if you’d been reading anything about Covid vaccines recently, you’d know that all the testing was conducted by the manufacturers of those vaccines also.
      The government agencies don’t have the resources to conduct all the testing themselves. So they lay down the rules, let the manufacturers conduct the tests, and the agencies scrutinize the results. They have to depend on the manufacturers to follow the rules and accurately report the results. Where it falls down, particularly with high tech industries, is that unexpected results may be “fixed” along the way, and the fixes may not be up to the expected standards. So while the final results may look good, they don’t truly reflect all the findings of the testing processes. With the FDA, any unexpected clinical results must be reported, so the resultant testing is much more stringent that for technological products.
      The only way to hold the corporations more accountable would be to have all testing done independently of the manufacturers. But that would increase the government’s budget beyond all reason. And we know how much resistance there is to increasing government spending, and increasing taxes, etc. Right now the manufacturers have to pay up front for the testing, and that seems to be best way when you think about it.
      BTW, the engines used on the Boeing 777 are the PW4000 series manufactured by Pratt & Whitney, and are also used on some 747’s, like the one that shed an engine over the Netherlands over the weekend. So while it reflects on Boeing, the engine manufacturer clearly has ultimate responsibility in these cases.

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